Feeding tubes worsen pressure ulcers in elderly dementia patients, study suggests

Share this article:

New research suggests that feeding tubes can cause or worsen pressure ulcers in elderly dementia patients — a finding that contradicts the commonly held belief that feeding tubes promote healing.

In analyzing Medicare claims data for thousands of beneficiaries with dementia, BrownUniversity researchers found that individuals with a percutaneous endoscopicgastric (PEG) feedingtube were 2.27 times more likely to develop a pressure ulcer than those without a feeding tube. Additionally, the risk of the patient developing a more severe, stage IV ulcer was 3.21 times higher for those with a feeding tube.

While the reasons aren't yet known, investigators theorized that feeding tubes can cause agitation in those with dementia and increase the risk of diarrhea.

“It provides solid evidence that there is a risk and that we need to discuss it,” lead author Joan Teno, M.D., said. “I'm hoping that people now can use this study to make better decisions in light of a patient's goals and values.”

The study was published May 14 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Share this article:

More in News

MedPAC discusses limiting patients' post-acute options

MedPAC discusses limiting patients' post-acute options

Medicare rules might have to be relaxed to give hospitals more say in where patients go for post-acute care, members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission proposed at a recent ...

Nursing home workers told not to touch residents due to Ebola concerns

U.S. nursing home workers who hail from West Africa are being stigmatized as potential Ebola carriers and forbidden from touching residents, according to IRIN, an independent news service launched by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Former office manager charged with embezzling half a million dollars from residents

The former business office manager of a Michigan nursing home has been charged with embezzling more than $460,000 from the resident trust fund, the state's attorney general announced last Thursday.